Aaah, there you are! And just in time, there is a little matter I forgot to mention. Beware of hitch-hiking posts!
Did you get it? Anyways, this is the last post of The Haunted Mansion series. If you missed pt. 1 and/or pt. 2 you can find them here:
Our tour of the mansion comes to a dead end in todays post as we take one morgue step through the Graveyard and enter the creepy Crypt. After we have exited the mansion gate, I will raise the bar for you and discuss my potential Haunted Mansion series 2. Come along bodies, as they say “look alive” and Look Past the Vinyls.
The masked executioner is one of the last characters we see in the graveyard. He is seen standing next to a knight who has been decapitated and holding his decapitated head. The other character on the executioners left side is a bearded convict, who we might see a little later.
It is assumed that the executioner is the one responsible for the knights fate, but the charm and humor of the attraction shows that all though they should be enemies, the two are singing together as you ride by. What was not featured on the figure is the keys that the executioner is holding in his left hand. I actually never realized that he was holding them until I was doing research for this column. Is he the gatekeeper for the upcoming Crypt? Lets look at a page from The Story and Song of The Haunted Mansion.
Its up to us to decide if we want to include this detail in the executioners backstory as it is never revealed. Move along bodies….
The three hitch-hiking ghosts are probably the most famous characters in The Haunted Mansion. They are featured on most mansion merchandise including pins, shirts and had to be included in this set. Or at least two of them did. We don’t know why one was left out of the finished series, but we did see some concept art and the three can be seen in a 3D Vinylmation pin set.
The three ghosts were actually some of the last figures installed in the attraction. They are based on urban legends of hitch-hiking ghost stories that have been told for generations. They do not have official names and were only known as “the Prisoner,” “the Skeleton,” and “the Traveler.” There actual names of “Gus,” “Ezra,” and “Phineas” were created by fans and cast members and have been widely accepted by the community and Disney has even made merchandise with those names on it as per the Vinylmation series.
Each character now has his own grave marker in the extended cemetery and family plot. They simply just read their names of Gus, Ezra, and Phineas. Of course one of the cooler things for the series was the inclusion of the glow in the dark variants of Gus and Phineas. The three hitch-hiking ghosts have also been done in a modern adaptation picture taken by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz. It starred Jack Black as Phineas, Will Ferrell as Ezra, and Jason Segal as Gus.
Our final land mark of the mansion brings us to the mausoleum where a haunting voice beckons us to return to the property, but not in mortal form. Looking towards the ceiling you see what appears to be just a doll sitting on a shelf, but just like all the other spooks in the mansion her face is alive and taunting our return.
Little Leota was the chaser of the Haunted Mansion series and most collectors thought it was an underwhelming figure or selection.
The character in early scripts was known as the Ghostess, a combination of ghost and hostess. There was some dialogue recorded for the Magic Kingdoms version of the attraction that was not used that had the Ghost Host talking about a ghostess that would take applications for those who would like to join the ghosts of the mansion. The face and voice used for the figure was Leota Toombs, breaking the tradition of dual actors playing the same character. Because of the likeness to the Madame Leota character, fans started calling the doll Little Leota which has since become the name of the character although the two are not supposed to be related. The dialogue spoken by Little Leota has become a crowd favorite and is most often heard by guests exiting the ride.
Lets look ahead now:
Although the case doesn’t say anything about if The Haunted Mansion is a stand alone series, the bottom of each figure says “series 1.” So are they making a second series? Was is a production mistake? I know The Haunted Mansion series was in production for a long time, but we haven’t seen any concept art for a second series yet. There is the big Villains Trade Event in September and that is usually when previews are shown, but we may not know anything till then. With that being said, I would like to do some Imagineering on my own and describe what I would like to see in The Haunted Mansion series 2.
1. The Raven
The Raven is a prominent character in the ride and can be seen 4 or 5 times. The figure would be all black with a beak red eyes on the head. Claws would be drawn on the feet and a wing outline would be on the side with a tail on the back.
2. Knight in armor
The Knight in Armor figure would most likely resemble the knight from Urban 5. The color schemes would change to fit the mansion motif, and I would place the spear accessory in the right hand. I would add a feather accessory on the top of the head to make the helmet complete.
3/4. The Butlers
I thought about just doing one figure for the butlers and the other as a variant, but I don’t think that would have worked out so good.I separated the two into a male and female butler costume. The cast member costumes for the Haunted Mansion are some of the iconic costumes of the park and are instantly recognizable much like the creepy wallpaper. The male version would look much like the Master Gracey figure from series one, just with the CM costume on it and possibly a different face. I would use the new Minnie mold for the female version as it works best for the design. The bow would have white headpiece and the face would have a female face with the greenish dress and apron on the body.
5/6. Dueling paintings
Figures 5 and 6 will be each of the Dueling paintings. The guns will be painted on the head going up to the respected ear. The background will be the rest of the painting with the body of the figure having the rest of the duelers body and feet. On the back of each figure will be the ghost version of the characters turned and shooting at the other dueler. This allows you to have a few options when displaying the figure.
7. Madame Leota
Leota would be a black clear figure with the table drawn on the bottom half of the figure. the head would be cased with a buzz helmet and a colorful face would be drawn in the middle. The ears would have a couple of the instruments that are floating around the room on them. Possibly a variant with glow in the dark face or black light paint for the instruments on the ears.
8. Donald rocking chair
Across from the Knight in armor sits a rocking chair that is in motion with no one sitting in it. The back of the chair has an eerie design on it which resembles Donald Duck. The figure would be a maroon color with the donald face design taking up the lower half of the head and most of the body.
Ezra would be as is based on the early concept art for series one. I would also do the glow in the dark variant too.
10. Pop up ghost
The Pop-up ghosts that haunt the graveyard and one time attic would be the 10th figure. They would have a black body and feet with a green clear face and black ears. Possible variant would be a blue faced version.
11. Grim Reaper
Just before you turn to look at the executioner group on the right is a faceless grim reaper calling out to you. But notice something he is making in his left hand? Its a hidden Mickey! The figure would resemble the grim reaper in the attraction with the mickey being made in the figures left ear.
Chaser. The Caretaker and dog
The caretaker and dog would be like the Big top chaser with a neck piece and jr. The dog would be designed on the jr. figure. The caretaker would be holding a lantern similar to the Culpepper figure. The face would be designed on the head of the figure with an elongated neck and body design.
Combo Topper: Master Gracey tombstone
The Master Gracey tombstone would be an ideal topper to go above the box. The figure would be grey with the epitaph written on the head and body. The feet would be either grass or dirt.
Well, I hope you enjoyed our 3 part tour of the Haunted Mansion. Please comment below and share with fellow friends/collectors. If you have any suggestions or additions to my or your Imagineered Haunted Mansion series 2 or anything else please leave a comment and as always join me on more adventures into the history of our Vinylmation in Looking Past the Vinyls.